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 Marmaduke Matthews  (1837 - 1913)

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Lived/Active: Ontario/New York / Canada      Known for: landscape, still life, wilderness, rivers, historic scene and railroad painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Marmaduke M. Matthews RCA, OSA (1837 – 1913)

A prominent late 19th and early 20th century Canadian painter and leader in the art community, Marmaduke M. Matthews (Marmaduke Matthews Matthews) was born in Barcheston, Warwickshire, England and died in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where he had lived, almost continuously, since arriving in Canada in 1860. Matthews was a Railway Painter*, a founder and President of the Ontario Society of Artists*, a charter member and council member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts*, and the founder of the Wychwood Park artist’s colony. His works are in several Canadian museums including the National Gallery of Canada. (1)

His primary mediums were watercolors, oils and gouache. His subjects included landscapes, still lifes, portraits, figures, seascapes, wilderness scenes, historic sites, rural scenes, genre and, perhaps most famously as a Railway Painter*  –  the Canadian west, the Rocky Mountains and the Canadian Pacific Railway. His style was Realism*. AskART images have some good illustrations of his oeuvre. (2)

Matthews’ education includes the Cowley Diocesan School [parochial elementary], Oxford and studies in London before immigrating to Canada. (3)

Matthews was a founder of the Ontario Society of Artists* (Member: 1872, Secretary: 1875 – 1882, Vice President: 1891 – 1893, President: 1893 – 1897); and a charter member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (Associate: 1880, Secretary: 1880 – 1887, Academician: 1883, Treasurer: 1887 – 1888). He also founded the Wychwood Park, Toronto artist’s colony in 1891. (4)

He exhibited with the Society of Canadian Artists* (1870); Ontario Society of Artists* (1873 – 1910); Art Association of Montreal* (1880 – 1910); Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (1880 – 1912); Toronto Industrial Exhibition [later renamed Canadian National Exhibition] (1881 – 1902); and the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto (1903 – 1909). His works were also shown at the “Centennial Exposition*”, Philadelphia (1876); “World’s Columbian Exposition*”, Chicago (1893); “Pan American Exposition”, Buffalo, New York (1901); and the “Louisiana Purchase Exposition*”, St. Louis, Missouri (1904).

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, his works are in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Glenbow Museum (Calgary, Alberta), Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (Kitchener, Ontario), Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Concordia University, Montreal), Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina, Saskatchewan), Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Riverbrink Art Museum (Queenston, Ontario), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario), Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto), The Market Gallery (Toronto), Trent University Art Collection (Peterborough, Ontario), Vancouver Art Gallery (B.C.), Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (Banff, Alberta), Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).
(1) Please note: Matthews’ only extended residence outside of Toronto after 1860 was when he lived and worked, as a photo tinter, in New York City for five or six years between 1863 and 1869. Source: A Concise History of Canadian Painting 3rd edition (2012), by Dennis Reid (see AskART book references).

(2) Please note: According to his daughters (Render pg. 71), Matthews made only two trips across Canada (Ontario to British Columbia) – in 1887 and in 1889. However, J. Russell Harper (pg. 198) notes that Matthews “… spent ten consecutive summers sketching along the railway.” Sources: The Mountains and the Sky (1974), by Lorne E. Render (see AskART book references); and Painting in Canada: a history (1977), by J. Russell Harper (see AskART book references).

(3) Please note: Several sources say Matthews studied under T.M. Richardson (see AskART for Thomas Miles Richardson II); some say it was at the Cowley school and others only say Oxford. However, Richardson was born in Newcastle and later lived in London; none of our sources for Richardson mention the Cowley school, or living in Oxford, or teaching anywhere for that matter. Canadian Men and Women of the Time: A Handbook of Canadian Biography of Living Characters (see AskART book references), one of the sources for Matthews which was published during his lifetime, says of his education: “Cowley Diocesan Sch., Oxford, and London”. It doesn’t mention Richardson at all, however if Matthews did study under Richardson it may have been in London a city both artists have in common. The biographical sources we used for Thomas Miles Richardson (1813 – 1890) are: E. Benezit Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs (1999); The Dictionary of British Water Colour Artists Up to 1920: The Text Volume 1 (1986), by H.L. Mallalieu; History of the Old Watercolour Society (1972), by John Lewis Roget; and Dictionary of Victorian Painters (1971), by Christopher Wood.

(4) In 1891 Matthews developed his farm Wychwood Park (Toronto) into an artist’s colony. One hundred and twenty-three years later (2014), the private co-operative community of 60 houses still exists and is largely governed by the terms of the 1891 trust deed prepared by Matthews. However, over time the demographics of Wychwood Park have changed from mostly artists to business executives, professionals and academics. Sources: A Concise History of Canadian Painting 3rd edition (2012), by Dennis Reid (see AskART book references); and “Inside the weird world of Wychwood Park”, by Jim Rankin, The Star, Friday, December 21, 2012 (a link to the article is provided below).
A Concise History of Canadian Painting 3rd edition (2012), by Dennis Reid (see AskART book references)

Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references)

The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar (see AskART book references)

E. Benezit Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs (1999) (see AskART book references)

A to Z of Canadian Art: artists & art terms (1997), by Blake McKendry (see AskART book references)

Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson (see AskART book references)

Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880 – 1979 (1981), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)

Passionate Spirits: A History of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1880 – 1980 (1980), by Rebecca Sisler (see AskART book references)

Painting in Canada: a history (1977), by J. Russell Harper; University of Toronto Press (463 pgs., some color)

Canadian Watercolours & Drawings in the Royal Ontario Museum (1974), by Mary Allodi (see AskART book references)

The Mountains and the Sky (1974), by Lorne E. Render (see AskART book references)

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists: Volume 4, Little – Myles (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references)

Art Gallery of Ontario – The Canadian Collection (1970), by Helen Pepall Bradfield (see AskART book references)

Early Painters and Engravers in Canada (1970), by J. Russell Harper (see AskART book references)

The National Gallery of Canada: Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture, Volume III (1960), by R.H. Hubbard (see AskART book references)

Canadian Art - Its Origin and Development (1943) (paperback 1967), by William Colgate (see AskART book references)

The Fine Arts in Canada (1925), by Newton MacTavish (see AskART book references)

“Canada and its Provinces: A History of the Canadian People and their Institutions by One Hundred Associates” Volume XII (1914), edited by Adam Shortt and Arthur G. Doughty (see AskART book references)

Canadian Men and Women of the Time: A Handbook of Canadian Biography of Living Characters (1912), edited by Henry James Morgan (see AskART book references)

“Inside the weird world of Wychwood Park” Jim Rankin, The Star, Friday, December 21, 2012. Link –

Canadian Heritage Information Network* (Museums)

Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art* (OSA exhibitions)

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Written and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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